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Hold On

Painting by Indigo Ensign“Everybody hurts sometimes . . . So, hold on, hold on. Hold on. You are not alone.”

—R.E.M, Everybody Hurts (lyrics)

 

Listening to my daughter from her bedroom softly singing as she strums on the ukulele, learning to play a new song.

Sometimes there are bits of muffled conversations when she Skypes her roommates and friends who are still in New York City.

The sky is gray.

My husband is in the basement, painting the floor and repairing shelves in the furnace room.

My other daughter is at a table on the screened in porch, with the cat, working remotely with her office in Chicago.

Then, standing together in the kitchen making dinner, every conversation centers on someone we know who is sick: the symptoms, their age, whether they are recovering. A reminder to wash hands. Plastic hand sanitizer bottles on the counter. Wiping down door handles and sink faucets and counter tops with Clorox Wipes. Not hugging. Not kissing. Sitting apart and making jokes during Netflix shows when people are hugging: “Remember when we used to be able to hug?” HaHa.

Because humor brushes off the sadness threatening to weigh us down.

We go for long walks and catch up on relationship news, talk about ongoing projects for school or work, and we eat comfort foods, like chips and salsa and fresh baked cookies, while also trying to get in some healthy food so we don’t get sick.

And I feel . . .

Grateful for this time with them and scattered and unable to write—though I feel I should write because that is what I do and the times we are in require it. But I don’t write much. I paint. I worry. I walk. I eat. I sleep. I watch TV.

Sometimes I meditate—not as much as I need to. Sometimes I listen to the birds or music. Mostly, I read news updates. Then I talk about it and try to figure out what is true and why more hasn’t been done and what we need to learn. And I worry this is the end even while trying to convince myself it is a new beginning – perhaps.

The trees outside my window stand strong. Their branches stretch out and up. Wide, reaching. They tell me I should write about hope.

I know spring and summer are just around the bend. I know “This too shall pass.”

I know I am lucky: I have food. I have shelter. I am healthy.

But today, I feel like crying because I want to hug tight the people I love. I want us to make it through this. I want us to do better. To learn from this. To care more. To be more compassionate. More giving. More honest. More thoughtful.

Only, the sky is heavy with clouds. And I am tired.

All I have to give, to the nurses and doctors and people stocking shelves and families who have lost someone they love and people who are alone and people who are scared and students who are at home and small business owners who have shut their doors, and to myself  . . . all I have right now are two words:

Hold on.

I hope it is enough.

 

Peace & much love, 

Diana Ensign

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